in General

Pointing

I still have a fair bit of backlog of things I’ve wanted to mention here, sites and pages I’ve been meaning to point out. Let’s dive in.

I’ve not listened to much of Bright Eyes‘ music but that’s certainly going to change. He performed one of the most passionate protests songs I’ve ever heard May 2nd on Leno. “When the President Talks to God” was a blistering attack on President Bush and his ilk that had me listening in awe and leaves me deeply impressed. We need more folks with media access to have guts enough to speak out like this.

When the president talks to God
Are the conversations brief or long?

Does he ask to rape our women’s rights
And send poor farm kids off to die?
Does God suggest an oil hike
When the president talks to God?

When the president talks to God
Are the consonants all hard or soft?
Is he resolute all down the line?
Is every issue black or white?

You can find video of this performance here or download the audio version that’s available for free at iTunes.

I mention Buddhism quite often here in my journal, but I’m sure there are plenty of you who don’t know a great deal about it. One resource I’ve found to be a good introduction is Buddhanet‘s Basic Buddhism Guide. I figure having a bit of knowledge of the path that most influences my personal spiritual evolution would help to understand my view of many things I write of, or at least help appreciate the film I wrote about so glowingly in my last entry.

Related to this is IONSThe Physical and Psychological Effects of Meditation, a nice overview of the intersection of spirituality and science in meditation across religions. Scientific experiments and research are finally starting to actively look at meditaton (as well as other spiritual practices) and discover its many benefits. As Ken Wilber proposed in The Marriage of Sense and Soul : Integrating Science and Religion, science and religion need not be opposed but rather integrated and explored together. The spiritual and physical worlds are one; duality is a fallacy.

If you’ve read my journal often you’ll recall that I am a vegetarian. I know this path is not for everyone, but there is definitely much benefit to reducing (or eliminating) the meat we have in our diets. In addition to the direct health benefits inherent in such a change, there is also a reduction to the harm done to our world. In Joyce D’Silva’s article “Eat less meat – it’s costing the Earth” she points out some alarming trends in meat consumption we should all be concerned about. Meat consumption in the past 40 years has increased by disturbing amouts across the globe, from an additional 33 kilos pp/pa in Europe to a whopping increase of 50 in China. Why does eating this much meat mean trouble? Meat production at current levels is unsustainable, highly inefficient and full of waste; the ratio of grains to meat produced is 10:1 for beef (5:1 for pork) while one substitute, soya bean, yeilds 356 lb of protein per acre compared to 45 from meat, all the while using less human effort and resources. This is not even touching on the harm done by factory farming on humans and animals alike.

It’s not just the animals who suffer. The high intake of meats and dairy foods in Western diets is damaging to human health and puts a huge strain on health services. These foods, high in saturated fats, contribute significantly to the huge increases in obesity, adult-onset diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers which are plaguing not just the Western world but, increasingly, the developing world too.

Barring medical ailments, I think we would all benefit from decreased meat consumption. Why not take that easy step for your own health and the health of all those sharing this world with you?

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